Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Prom Night 1973 - An Evening to Forget

A few years ago,there I was watching Howard Stern on television. I usually don't go out of my way to view Stern's program because there's nothing more pitiful than watching people willing to debase themselves on national television for their fifteen minutes,although I understand it's now been whittled down to fifteen seconds of fame. And Stern is the ring master; watching these folks make total asses of themselves as he laughs and pokes fun at them while millions of viewers laugh like a pack of hyenas along with him.

On this occasion, Stern was actually helping someone for a change. It seems this eighteen year old guy needed a date for his senior prom, so Stern made arrangements for him to escort a porno star named Houston to the affair. Now on the surface this seems highly unusual,but hey,the kid was the envy of the entire male population of his high school,not to mention his neighborhood. In addition,he got lucky that evening. Now,imagine bedding a voluptuous goddess on prom night.How great is that? Her porn star status not withstanding,of course.And as if the lucky bastard needed any more good fortune coming his way, he ended up living with her for eight months!

On my prom night I didn't get so much as a kiss. The evening,which most people remember as romantic and magical,was a stale,dull affair and was about as romantic as going to the prom with your first cousin whom you ended up taking because no one else was available . Anyhoo,as I watched this eighteen year old teenager lip locking with the stacked, blonde porno star, I thought to myself," Where was Howard Stern when I needed him?

You see, I was in a dilemma: my girlfriend Delores couldn't go with me to The Senior Prom because her father didn't like me. Well, he didn't mind me as much as he minded my appearance. I had long hair and equally long sideburns, so her father preferred she date a boy who was more clean cut .Too bad there were no Mormons living in the area.

My best friend Larry and the girl he was dating, Rosemary, heard about my plight and decided to fix me up with her friend Anita. Seeing as how I surely did not relish showing up stag at The Senior Prom, I readily agreed because Anita was considered a total fox by the male populace of St. Marks. Guys I knew and even total strangers would come up to me in the hallway to pat me on the back and call me a "Lucky dog". As you can imagine, this did wonders for my ego.

Then a short time later, Delores called to let me know that her father had relented and that she could go with me to the prom. This was definitely good news for me. However,when I told Larry and Rosemary about the change of plans they told me Anita had rented a gown and that I had to take her. I countered back that Delores was my girlfriend while I had spoken to Anita a total of three times. But they insisted, so I backed down and broke the bad news to Delores who was surprisingly understanding about the whole thing. Considering the lousy time I had,in hindsight I should have stuck to my guns and insisted on going with my girlfriend instead.

Though out this entire debacle, in the back of my mind I suspected that Rosemary and Anita were merely using the two of us as convenient escorts. Especially when it came to the supposed relationship between Larry and Rosemary. Larry felt that she was his girlfriend,but the way Rosemary acted towards him I really had my doubts. The defining moment for me was when Larry and I went to an outdoor rock concert at Rodney Square. He was going to meet her there and yet despite a rather lengthy search Larry never did find her. When we bumped into her friend Phyllis, she said that Rosemary didn't come to the concert.

One night,the three of us went over to New Jersey to a nightclub called The Crescendo. At that time,the drinking age in New Jersey was eighteen,so a horde of thirsty eighteen year old Delawareans descended upon the clubs in that area to imbibe vast quantities of alcoholic beverages before toddling drunkenly back to their home state. When Rosemary and I talked about the outdoor rock concert that she supposedly did not attend,she mentioned one of the bands and how good their rendition of Wars" Cisco Kid" was. It became clear Rosemary was there after all. Why she hid from him that day I'll never know.I suspected she was seeing someone else on the side, but I never told Larry(until many years later)because I knew this would completely crush him.

So I went through with the charade although I knew I wouldn't have a very good time. I wouldn't be slow dancing with my girlfriend at the prom and then at the end go to the beach to watch the sun come up. I'd be hanging out with a girl I barely knew and at the end,if we went to the beach, she would probably hang out with her friends while I sat on my hands wishing I were elsewhere.

During the fiasco I jokingly refer to as my senior prom, which was held at the elegant Mendenhall Inn, Rosemary and Anita told me while Larry was in the mens room that they were going to see if the two of them could score some pot. Rosemary asked me not to tell this to Larry because he'd disapprove. And with that they left me to sit at our table eating the remainder of my dinner.

The entire evening started to take on the makings of a tv sitcom. Larry came back from the restroom and asked where the girls were. I said they left to talk to some friends and he went to look for them;he wanted to make sure that our little group was together. Anita came back on two occasions and we danced to a couple of fast songs before she left to rejoin Rosemary in their quest for the sacred weed. Larry returned and asked if they had come back. I replied Anita did and left, but Rosemary hadn't. He once again went in search of the girls and I returned to stare at my empty plate.

It was at this juncture that I began thinking about the good time I was having. I looked from the table where I was sitting at out towards the courtyard and saw a couple slow dancing in the moonlight.That should've been me and Delores. This was supposed  be a wonderfully romantic evening with my girlfriend, not me sitting by my lonesome at a table waiting for Rosemary and Anita to do a drug deal while Larry wandered around the restaurant looking for them. Yeah, I was having a whole barrel of fun.

After the three wanderers finally returned,we went upstairs to get our pictures taken(did I really want any sort of reminder of this farce of an evening?). Across from the room where the photographer had his equipment set up was a refrigerator where the white wine was kept.The four of us found out that some of the other females were sneaking bottle of wine under their gowns,so we decided to do the same. As far as I was concerned this dreadful night needed all the help it could possibly get.

Our little quartet then decided to leave the restaurant and find some place to drink the purloined wine, then we'd go bowling. Why we ended up in bowling alley is something at this late date I simply cannot for the life of me fathom.I can imagine the looks on the other bowlers faces as they watched four people dressed to the nines in tuxedos and evening gowns throwing bowling balls as part of the evenings festivities.

Anyway, before leaving , I ran back to our table where the waiters were serving desert(a slice of ice cream covered with a halved peach) and gobbled it down. The way I figured it was, since I was having an incredibly lousy evening the least I deserved was desert. Although was all is said and done, I would have enjoyed it much more if the ice cream and peach treat had been eaten slowly, as opposed to being inhaled.

The following day Larry, Rosemary, Anita and myself hung out for a while before the lackluster affair came to a welcome end. I never saw Anita again after that and to be honest,if I never see her for the rest of my life I'll die a happy man. As for that sorry excuse for a senior prom,I sometimes think back on the dark,dank,sham of an evening,like once every ten years, and wish I'd stayed home. I would've saved money, plus there was probably something good on TV  that night.

Postscript: A year after graduation,I worked for a truck driving school putting up application standees in business's. On one of my travels I was in the same area where The Mendenhall Inn was located, so I stopped in to see if they'd allow me to place a standee in their establishment.The manager politely declined and while we were conversing,I mentioned that I went to St.Marks and that our school held it's prom there in 1973. The manager informed me that was the year many bottles of wine had been stolen from the upstairs refrigerator,so they stopped holding senior proms at their restaurant.

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